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November 10, 2016

Week 10 NFL picks

111016CarsonWentz Bill Kostroun/AP

Carson Wentz will try to capitalize on the Falcons' 28th ranked scoring defense.

For the gambling degenerates, here are my Week 10 NFL picks. To note, the helmets indicate who I think will win the game, not cover the spread. At the end of the picks, I'll note a few teams that I like based on the spread.


Browns at Ravens (-8): The AFC North has quietly become a pretty crappy division this season, as it is in contention with the always bad AFC South for the worst combined point differential in the NFL:

Division Point differential 
 NFC East+134 
 AFC West+125 
 AFC East+48 
 NFC South-4 
 NFC North-9 
 NFC West-63 
 AFC North-113 
 AFC South-118 

The Ravens are tied atop the AFC North with the Steelers at 4-4. They'll pull ahead Thursday night, for a few days anyway.


Packers (-2.5) at Titans: The Titans are the third-ranked rushing team in the NFL this season, while the Packers are the top ranked rush defense. The Packers have given up 100 or more yards on the ground just once this season. In games where it's strength on strength, I normally lean toward the defense.


Vikings at Redskins (-3): The Vikings are officially exposed. Their offensive tackles give up far too much pressure, they can't run the ball, and Sam Bradford isn't a quarterback who can go out and make plays on his own without a lot of things breaking right around him. The tailspin continues.


Bears at Buccaneers (-1): Anyone care about this game? No? Good. Next.


Chiefs at Panthers (-3): The Chiefs don't get enough credit for how good they are. They're rolling now, and are legitimate Super Bowl contenders.


Falcons (-1) at Eagles: It's pretty easy to look at this game and go, "OMG Julio Jones is going to tear the Eagles' secondary apart!" And he might. He certainly did just that in Week 1 against the Eagles a year ago. That said, the Eagles' defense has generally stepped up this season against their best offensive competition.

While the Falcons are the top scoring offense in the NFL (33.9 points per game), they are also the 28th scoring defense (28.8 points allowed per game).

In their three home games this season, the Eagles have outscored their opponents 84-23, and have absolutely stomped all over opposing offenses. I'll allow myself one Eagles "hunch pick" per season. This is it. Eagles, 26-21.


Rams at Jets (-2): Again... Anyone care? No? Cool. Next.


Broncos at Saints (-2.5): With C.J. Anderson out, the Broncos don't have a running game. In their last two games, they've run for 57 and 33 yards. Second year quarterback Trevor Siemian can't do it on his own. While the Broncos still have an outstanding defense, they won't be able to stop Drew Brees and the Saints' offense for four quarters if they can't consistently move the chains with what they have left on O.


Texans (-1.5) at Jaguars: The Jaguars suck. #Analysis.


Dolphins at Chargers (-3.5): After starting 1-4 with a series of late game losses, the Chargers have won three of the their last four games, including wins over the Broncos and Falcons. The Chargers' O is quietly among the best in the NFL.


Cowboys at Steelers (-2.5): Since 2014, 15 of the Cowboys' 23 wins have come on the road. Even including their 4-12 nightmare season in 2015, the Cowboys are 15-5 on the road since 2014. They have more than proven that they can go on the road and win games, as their style of play (run the crap out of the ball) lends well to playing on the road. I'm surprised the overrated Steelers are favored in this game, frankly.


49ers at Cardinals (-13.5): It's going to be really hard justifying keeping Chip around after this season, even with the bad roster he has in San Fran.


Seahawks at Patri*ts (-7.5): Since Deflatey McGee's return, the Patri*ts have beaten each of their opponents by at least 10 points, hence the 7.5-point line here. In those games, they've outscored their opponent 136-71. 7.5 is a little too rich for my blood against a still dominant Seahawks defense, but you just don't pick against the Patri*ts at home.


Bengals at Giants (-2.5): I'll say what I said about the Bengals two weeks ago:

The Bengals just are what they are -- a good team that beats the teams that are less talented than them, but can't beat the big boys. The Redskins are OK, but they're not among the big boys.
The question now is, are the Bengals even a good team anymore? They look average to me.

BYE: Bills, Lions, Colts, Raiders.

• Picks against the spread: Redskins (-3), Chiefs (+3), Cowboys (+2.5), Chargers (-3.5).

• 2016 season, straight up: 76-55-2 (.579)

• 2016 season, ATS: 24-17 (.585)

• 2015 season, straight up: 163-93 (0.637)

• 2015 season, ATS: 46-30-2 (0.605)

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